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OFF THE MARX

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Bok hooker says the team’s focus is on beating the All Blacks

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Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx came of age with his barnstorming performance in the Springboks’ narrow one point defeat by the All Blacks at Newlands last year.

It was a Test in which Marx finally lived up to the many comparisons that have been made of him and former Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis.

But there was more to that performance than just Marx satisfying the Springbok die-hards’ fantasies of seeing the reincarnation of Du Plessis come to life, it was a matter of the entire Springbok team taking back their dignity after being undressed 57-0 earlier in the competition in New Zealand.

That Newlands outing, even though the Springboks were on the losing side, is worth reliving even just for the sake of it being a reminder to what the Springboks can do, but it will serve no purpose for the South Africans ahead of Saturday’s clash at Loftus Versfeld, according to the man of that moment, Marx.

Marx is not one to live in the past and remembers the satisfaction of the good he did, as well as the team with the same unpalatable bitter taste of defeat.

But more importantly, Marx wants his teammates to move beyond that moment and even the most recent one of sweet victory in New Zealand against the All Blacks two weeks ago, and focus on creating another equally special moment at Loftus this week.

“It wasn’t me, it was the team to be honest. If you saw how the guys prepped during the week, how hard we worked … and if you watched the game carefully you saw how hard everyone around the field was working, it was immense.

“I won’t take the credit for that – definitely not.

“The side scrummed well, the line-out functioned well, we played good rugby but unfortunately we lost that game by one point.

“Moving on from that is important because the game is in the past and won’t help me now. I’ve got to focus on this week and see what I can do better,” said Marx yesterday.

“I think just putting that behind us. That victory (in Wellington two weeks ago) was amazing for us but it’s also in the past now and we have to focus on this week. We must focus on ourselves and where we can get better and obviously look at what we did wrong in the All Blacks and Australia games and try to improve on that.

“We’ll go from there, we don’t want to focus on the past because that won’t help us with anything.

“We have got to focus on this week and this week only.”

What the Springboks have been able to do well particularly in the past two outings against the All Blacks and Australia is proof that defence is the ultimate winner of Test matches.

Bravery

As much as the Springboks’ bravery and ability to risk both life and limb in making their tackles, they will need to be just as ruthless with ball in hand and generate more points than the All Blacks if it is that they are to record a rare double against the old foe.

“There is always been a buzz and the guys are a bit more positive. Obviously beating New Zealand in New Zealand was huge for us – and then trying to back it up and beating the Aussies in Port Elizabeth, which we are happy about.”

“We provided a good base for the backs and we exited well. We obviously want to attack a bit more, we were on defence quite a bit. We will look at the coach’s plan and see where we go,” Marx added.

Meanwhile, centre Damian de Allende has recovered from injury and is almost a shoo-in to start in Saturday’s game while Warren Whiteley is still undergoing rehabilitation and his availability will only be known today.